Navigating Israeli Small Claims Court
Israel’s small claims court is where to turn if you have a civil grievance big enough to cause tangible damages, but not big enough for a full blown lawsuit. Most civil grievances of this kind relate to faulty products or service, insurance payments, or damaged property, but can cover most financial matters with easily quantifiable damages.
The purpose of the small claims court is to get quick remedies to disputes involving money up to 34,000 NIS. Though it is prohibited for a lawyer to represent an individual in small claims court, Aviv Lazar & Co. is here to give you advice on the process of filing a claim.
First, you, as a Plaintiff, should always attempt to settle the matter through mutual understanding, avoiding legal recourse. This communication should be done in writing, as it will show good faith to the judge if and when the matter does escalate to a legal proceeding. It is your responsibility -- not the court’s -- to obtain all the accurate and necessary information about your Defendant, including their full name, address, and ID number. If you have any difficulties obtaining this information, the Ministry of Interior (Misrad HaPnim) is available for assistance.
Technical and procedural fast facts:
The fee for filing a claim is 1% of the sum of the claim, with a minimum fee of 50 NIS.
You must sue a Defendant in a court with jurisdiction over the area the Defendant lives in, or in a court with jurisdiction over the area where the activity you are suing for took place or should have taken place.
Once you have filed your claim, you should take three copies to the court, which will then send a copy and a court summons to the Defendant.
Once the Defendant receives his or her summons, he or she has 15 days to file a defense. If no defense is filed, the Plaintiff may ask the court for a default judgement. It is important to note that the burden of proof in these claims is on you, the Plaintiff. This means that you must clearly describe all relevant facts and provide all evidence related to your claim. In drafting your claim, you should aim to keep it concise and devoid of emotions for the most impact, but you should also make sure to delineate every type of relief you feel you are entitled to, or else those reparations will be forfeited.